Amy Klobuchar's Law Professor Husband Fights COVID-19

Law360 (March 23, 2020, 1:50 PM EDT) -- U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar released a statement Monday that her husband, University of Baltimore School of Law professor John Bessler, has tested positive for COVID-19 and has been checked into a hospital in Virginia.

Bessler stopped teaching classes at the university after he first began to feel sick, Klobuchar said. But what she said started out as mild symptoms turned into a “bad, bad cough” and coughing up blood. Bessler was checked into a Virginia hospital, where he developed pneumonia and is on oxygen, and received the positive result Monday morning, which she posted to the blogging platform Medium.

The senator said she has not been in physical contact with her husband for two weeks, as she has been in Minnesota, while he was in Washington, D.C.

“While I cannot see him and he is of course cut off from all visitors, our daughter Abigail and I are constantly calling and texting and emailing. We love him very much and pray for his recovery. He is exhausted and sick but a very strong and resilient person,” the statement said.

According to a spokesperson for the University of Baltimore, the school's campus closed on March 13 and will remain closed to the community through the end of the semester, with classes going online Monday, following the school's spring break.

"Throughout this period, we have kept our entire community regularly informed about policies and procedures, and shared best practices for avoiding the spread of the virus. When we learned this morning of Prof. Bessler’s official diagnosis, the news was shared with the entire UB community, and we reiterated best practices for anyone who is experiencing symptoms or who feels he or she may have been exposed at some point," Christine Stutz, the university's director of communications, said in an email. 

In addition to his job at the University of Baltimore where he teaches civil procedure, contracts, capital punishment, international human rights law and legal skills, Bessler is also an adjunct professor at Georgetown University Law Center and is of counsel to the Minneapolis law firm of Berens & Miller PA, according to his LinkedIn.

Klobuchar said that because she is outside the 14-day period for getting sick since seeing her husband, her doctor has advised her not to get a test.

“I love my husband so very much and not being able to be there at the hospital by his side is one of the hardest things about this disease,” she said. “I hope he will be home soon. I know so many Americans are going through this and so much worse right now. So I hope and pray for you, just as I hope you will do for my husband.”

On Sunday, Sen. Rand Paul became the first U.S. senator known to test positive for COVID-1.

"Senator Rand Paul has tested positive for COVID-19. He is feeling fine and is in quarantine. He is asymptomatic and was tested out of an abundance of caution due to his extensive travel and events. He was not aware of any direct contact with any infected person," a tweet on his official Twitter account said Sunday.

--Editing by Gemma Horowitz.

For a reprint of this article, please contact reprints@law360.com.

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